Hey Muni, We Need a Bus to Dogpatch & 22nd Street Caltrain via Cesar Chavez


Neighbor Mark lives on Alabama Street in Bernal Heights. He’s not a transit planner, but he’s a transit rider, and he sees a gaping hole in Muni’s bus service along Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the (booming) 22nd Street Caltrain Station.

To remedy this, Neighbor Mark wants MUNI to create revive a bus line that goes from Noe Valley to Dogpatch via Cesar Chavez. Here’s his modest proposal:

There isn’t very much industry along the eastern part of Cesar Chavez, east of Hwy. 101, anymore. But there are two big reasons for a line that goes along Cesar Chavez to Third Street and thence to the 22nd St. Caltrain station.

First, Yellow Cab and FedEx drivers could take the bus to their workplaces, which are within a block of this stretch of Cesar Chavez. But primarily, Caltrain has become an essential way for SIlicon Valley workers to get to their jobs. Catrain ridership is at historic highs, and 1500 workers now board Caltrain at 22nd St. every morning, headed for points south.

Right now, there’s no easy way to get to the 22nd Street Station. Yes, you can take the 48-Quintara down 24th St. and over the hill, but this takes a very long time. It would be so much quicker for the bus to head down our remade Cesar Chavez, bypassing Potrero Hill, making a turn at Third St., and heading straight for the station. I’ll bet it would save at least 15 minutes vs. a comparable trip on the 48.

You could start the route at Castro and 26th, or (as I have it) at Church and Cesar Chavez to connect with the J-Church.

Curious as to whether Muni ever had a line down Cesar Chavez, I looked around and found a 1947 Muni map posted by Eric Fischer.

Sure enough, this map shows that a 54M bus began at Castro and 26th, went down 26th and Army Streets all the way to the very end of Army, east of Third Street. Here’s a highlighted version of the 54 line from that 1947 route map:


As a recovering Caltrain/22nd Street commuter, your Bernalwood editor would like to second Neighbor Mark’s proposal.

Muni, let’s do this.

48 thoughts on “Hey Muni, We Need a Bus to Dogpatch & 22nd Street Caltrain via Cesar Chavez

  1. Actually, workers at about 4000 jobs are tucked away along the eastern segment of Cesar Chavez.


    Many voices have already been raised to SFMTA, asking for this bus route. CC Puede has brought it up with boring (to the SFMTA) regularity. When the new Muni yard was being constructed at Indiana, the issue was raised at a community meeting and met with the usual stonewall. Here’s an excerpt from a 2011 letter from Jay Lu that manages to not say anything:

    “During the June 15 meeting you also expressed concern about inadequate transit service on Cesar Chavez Street. From 2007 to 2008, the SFMTA conducted an evaluation of its existing service as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project. At that time, the SFMTA considered additional transit service on Cesar Chavez. However, service changes were not recommended because of more pressing needs throughout the system. In considering this issue, the project team evaluated travel patterns in the area, the industrial land uses east of Bayshore and the disjointed street grid. We will continue to monitor this issue as the area continues to develop and change.”

    Fires need to be set under the behinds of the bureaucrats!

  2. This is an excellent idea. Fingers crossed that the powers that be listen. The only somewhat easier way to get to Caltrain now is to take 24th Street or Glen Park BART to Millbrae to catch the train there to go down the Peninsula.

  3. Great Idea. As much as I enjoy the daily circuitous tour of Po Hill, the inevitable delays of the 48 down 24th, and school schedule make the dash to the 22nd station too much for the nerves of this daily commuter.

    • If you think the 48’s route is circuitous now, you should have been riding it 10 or 15 years ago when it would go past SF General, turn south, cut over to the projects on 26th St, go north to 20th St and then descend into Dogpatch.

  4. This would be great! Please, Muni! All – what can we do to push this along or to raise the subject to Muni again? Can we do something as a neighborhood?

  5. Amen, not being able to walk or easily get to Caltrain is about the only thing that I miss after moving to Bernal from Potrero.

  6. You know why this is a good idea? It’s coming from the minds of people who use the service and are disappointed with it and know what they wish it would be – instead of some flak mindlessly drawing lines on a map.

    • YOU ARE A DOOFUS. You have NO IDEA about the high level of professionalism of the Muni planners. They have LIMITED money because you folks won’t authorize more money to be spent, and you bitch and moan about paying $2.25 for a bus ride that costs $4 to do. Public transit has been a money loser since people began driving cars after World War II. But you refuse to spend money to run it.

      • While I agree that Muni planners are definitely professionals who take many consideration into the planning of routes, I also acknowledge that for the most part, most of our routes have pretty much been the same since Muni’s inception. You can’t argue with the fact that more people are commuting away from SF down the Peninsula than ever before, Mission Bay is almost completely built up (yet the 22 falls short of reaching it), etc. A lot of development is happening in the eastern neighborhoods and I think this does highlight the fact that Muni hasn’t kept up with the pace of development.

        …and please don’t go on a rant about people refusing to spend money on Muni. Not only have none of the posters say anything about not wanting to pay for Muni, time and again, the voters of SF have approved bond measures to allocate funding for Muni. I think most people, even drivers, understand that public transit is important.

  7. Pingback: Bernal residents demand Cesar Chavez Muni route revival | Muni Diaries

  8. Duplicate service 2.5 blocks away from the 48 is not a good idea. Frequency is as important as travel time, and the 48 is already not that frequent (12m during rush hour, 15m during the day, 20m at night). Best case is we’ll get another bus line of that frequency, and we’ll be checking NextBus and running to whichever comes next (or they’ll both come at the same time). Worst case is they’d half the frequency of the 48 to provide service. Or you could lobby for them to move the 48, but then it’s benefiting Bernal folks at the expense of those in the middle of the Mission & Potrero Hill. Better would be to try to speed up the 48 by getting some cars off the route & removing some stop signs.

      • Well only 38 and 38L run on the same street because they provide service to the Geary St. area. 38Ls stop only at the major intersections to provide faster service. 38x buses (38AX, 38BX) run on Geary up to a point to collect riders then shift to parallel side streets for much faster running nonstop to and from Downtown. This has been done for over fifty years. You should re-figure that.

  9. I’ve wondered about this for years – it would be a great thing. Even if it ran down 26th street instead of Chavez to avoid the traffic when 101 is feeling saucy.

  10. There are different kinds of Muni routes. You didn’t know that, did you? There are the conventional runs such as the 14-Mission, the 5-Fulton, etc. And there are what are called “community service” runs such as the 67-Bernal Heights, the 36-Teresita, etc. These “community service” buses are paid for separately out of federal funds for the disabled and elderly, which is why those runs are independent of the mainline runs. The federal government doesn’t want money that was earmarked for elderly and disabled to be squandered on mainline city bus services for the able-bodied.

    Having spent a lot of time in a citizen advisory capacity planning routes such as the T Third line, I can say that Muni planners are NOT stupid and they are NOT flaks representing any particular interest. Muni planners are PROFESSIONALS who take their job seriously. Only a doofus who doesn’t have a clue would dare to say that Muni planners are incompetent.

    They have traffic and use studies to back up everything they plan. For instance, on the T line there were originally 13 different alignments that could have been used, but there needed to be a balance among traffic, revenue, speed, and possibility of accidents.

    We all know that the Muni and its predecessors were set up originally to focus on getting people from the hinterlands to the downtown Market Street corridor. I, for one have always wanted to see way more crosstown coaches. One glaring absence is any kind of east/west service in the heart of the Mission/Potrero neighborhood. You’ve got 16th and 24th, and nothing in-between.

    HOWEVER, the Muni has a limited budget because the city doesn’t want to pay more money to support it. Public transit is ALWAYS a money-loser and has been since the late 1940s, which is why you don’t see any private bus services anywhere, except for the cream-skimmers such as government supported private school buses and charter buses.

    THE OTHER source of revenue is the farebox. It costs about $4 a ride to ride the Muni right now, but people scream bloody murder when you try to raise the fair a quarter.

    So, the Muni uses the money the way they can and that’s why the routes are what they are.

    • People should be screaming that they are raising Muni fares yet again – especially as they repealed Sunday meters which would have provided the money they’re now asking Muni riders to pay. As you said, there is no financially solvent public transportation system – and that’s fine. I think it’s in the public’s best interest that transit have every opportunity to be better than taking a private car and cost is one of those metrics. There are tangible public benefits to having more people use public transportation.

    • This is not about muni vs. bikes. I suspect you could go most anywhere you want faster on a bike than muni. However, many people want to use muni; that is what this is about.

    • Too bad the 22nd St station is the only Caltrain station without bike lockers, only racks. No one wants to leave their bike chained to a rack out in the open all day long, 5 days a week.

      • I leave my bike locked up outside my office and nothing’s ever happened to it *knock on wood*

        maybe get a beater/commuter bike that’s not too valuable.

    • Yeah, but then what? There’s no secure bike parking at 22nd Street, and the bike cars on the train are routinely full — which means the rider can’t board.

    • @Judge Crater – I’d venture to say that if one is still able-bodied enough to be working, they’re probably able to bike provided there are safe and stress-free ways to get where they’re going. It’s actually not very difficult.

      If one is disabled, then they obviously are not the target of my comment. If taking Muni is difficult, I might suggest carpooling. I know my next-door neighbor actually drives to the 22nd street Caltrain station and just parks there all day. She does this alone but if neighbors organize, I can see that being a viable option for people who have no other.

  11. Uber Pool and Lyft Line will evolve into a highly efficient modern day version of the Jitney Bus.

    Based on the Uber fare estimator to the 22nd Street CalTrain Station:
    From the top of the hill on the Northside the estimated fare is $7-$9
    From Precita Park it is $6-$8

    With 2-3/people in the car it should be about $2.50 – 3.50 about the same as a MUNI fare but faster and cleaner. With the free market driving competition and advancements in technology it may even get cheaper in the future.

    I am all for the new route, strictly to access the new arena and up and coming Dogpatch waterfront parks and developments, but in all likelihood would never take it for the reason mentioned above.

  12. As for your “54M” that was the 54 Hunter’s Point Motor Coach line. The late Cameron Beach wrote this about it in 2008:
    “According to Inside Muni, the 54 line number was well used by Muni. From Sept. of 1945 to November of 1949 it was the 54-Hunter’s Point, operating from 26th & Castro to the Navy Yard.”

    Source: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SFMuniHistory/conversations/messages/41600

    P.S. RE: the $2.25 fare – $2.25 in 2014 had the same buying power as $0.21 in 1947.
    Annual inflation over this period was 3.62%.

    The fares during this time period were as follows:
    Effective date Fare
    01-June-1952 $0.15
    20-May-1946 $0.10

    Source: http://www.cable-car-guy.com/html/ccsf.html#Fares also via Cameron Beach.

    Thank you.

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    • anyone who says the T works pretty well obviously doesn’t need to depend on it on a regular basis

  14. Is the Bryant Street bus still running? You can catch that at Cesar Chavez and Bryant, that will take you all the way down to 3rd Street.

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